Tuning cell and tissue dynamics by the biomechanical microenvironment
Dr. Verena Ruprecht, Cell & Developmental Biology program, CRG, Barcelona (Spain)
Research in our lab is focused on the control of cell and tissue dynamics in 3D environments. We study how single cells process multifactorial mechanochemical information from their surrounding and generate adaptive output dynamics such as shape change, cell polarization and migration that collectively impact on tissue development and morphogenesis. We use Zebrafish embryos and primary embryonic progenitor stem cells as a model system to study molecular and cellular mechanisms driving complex three-dimensional tissue rearrangements and patterning in the embryo. Our lab follows a highly interdisciplinary approach combining molecular and cell biological tools with quantitative imaging approaches and advanced fluorescence microscopy. We implement a dual experiment strategy of in vivo experiments and minimalistic in vitro culture assays that allow for reconstituting the complexity of tissue morphogenesis in simplified environments.
In this talk I will specifically focus on how the 3D cellular microenvironment modulates cytoskeletal dynamics and motile cell behaviour and how a combination of physics and biology can help to elucidate generic patterns in cell motility.